II Corps (United States)
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2008)|
Shoulder sleeve insignia of the II Corps
24 Feb 1918–1 Feb 1919 US Army
March 1958–5 June 1970
|Branch||United States Army|
|Garrison/HQ||Camp Kilmer, NJ (after 1958)|
|Engagements||World War I
World War II
*Battle of Sidi Bou Zid
*Battle of the Kasserine Pass
*Battle of El Guettar
*Battle of Monte Cassino
|George W. Read
Mark W. Clark
|U.S. Corps (1939 - Present)|
|I Corps (United States)||III Corps (United States)|
World War I
II Corps was organized on 24 February 1918 and first saw significant action in Europe as a part of the main assault beginning the 1918 Second Battle of the Somme, while attached to the British Third Army. The initial secondary attack to begin that battle became known as the Third Battle of Albert, launched by the New Zealand Division. The attacks developed into an advance, which pushed the German 2nd Army back along a 50-mile (80 km) front line. On 22 August, the New Zealand Division took Albert, with the British and Americans advancing on Arras. On 29 August, Bapaume fell into British and American hands, which resulted in an advance by the Australian Corps, who crossed the Somme River on 31 August and broke the German lines during the Battle of Mont St. Quentin. Ultimately, the overall battle resulted in the German Army being pushed back to the Hindenburg Line, from which they would launch their spring offensive. The corps was demobilized 1 February 1919.
As part of the National Defense Act of 1920, II Corps was constituted as a division of the National Guard on 29 Jul 1921. On 15 August 1927 with a subsequent reorganization of the Army, the corp was constituted as a corps in the Regular Army. In preparation for the expansion of the Army, it was activated at Fort Jay, New York as a fully functioning combat unit on 1 August 1940.
World War II
In late 1942, under the command of Major General Lloyd Fredendall, II Corps landed in Oran as part of Operation Torch. After initially making good headway against German forces during the Tunisian Campaign, II Corps was defeated by German forces under Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim at the Battle of Sidi Bou Zid. II Corps was again decisively defeated during the Battle of the Kasserine Pass by troops under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. The defeats were compounded by American inexperience, poor senior leadership, and lack of armor comparable to that in the German panzer forces, as well as the highly effective German high-velocity 88 mm anti-tank guns, which were used in screening tactics to destroy American tanks lured into pursuit of German armored forces.
In March 1943, after a change of command to General George Patton, II Corps recovered its cohesion and fought well for the rest of the Tunisia Campaign, winning the Battle of El Guettar. The corps held the southern flank of British 1st Army during the destruction of the remaining Axis forces in North Africa.
In July 1943, II Corps landed in Sicily as part of Operation Husky under command of the U.S. 7th Army. It played a key part in the liberation of the western part of the island. The corps consisted of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, U.S. 9th Infantry Division, and 45th Infantry Division (United States), all under the command of Lieutenant General Omar Nelson Bradley.
II Corps participated in a further amphibious operation at Salerno during the Allied invasion of Italy (Operation Avalanche). This operation included the U.S. 36th Infantry Division and 45th Infantry Division.
During the Spring offensive in May 1944, II Corps consisted of the US 85th and 88th Infantry Divisions. For the assault of the German Gothic Line, II Corps consisted of the 34th, 88th and 91st Infantry Divisions.
After the Anzio landings (Operation Shingle), Major General Geoffrey Keyes was assigned commander of II Corps. The corps fought from Monte Cassino, moved up the western side of Italy, and ended up on the right flank of US Fifth Army in May 1945.
The II Corps inactivated in Austria on 10 October 1945, following Germany's surrender.
In March 1958, Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, became Headquarters for the reactivated II Corps as the controlling headquarters for United States Army Reserve units across the northeast. The corps was inactivated on 5 June 1970 at Fort Wadsworth, New York.
- John B. Wilson, 'Armies, Corps, Divisions, and Separate Brigades'